Scan 8

Spring 2013 Issue out now!

Scan 8



The Tufts Canon Volume IV has been released! Copies can be found at the OCL in the Campus Center or dispersed around the Medford campus. Alternatively, to order a copy of the journal in PDF format, you can email for the online edition. The online edition is identical to the print edition; one saves paper, the other slightly extends the life of America’s dying publishing industry.

Selections have been posted to the website:
bunny sadness

dream, the ugly
fantasize about you please, anything
rosina capri
the astronaut’s feelings
the fog over berlin
drive in
madame hausery
it’s election night

Happy reading!


Canon to Host Reading at Fort Warner


This Friday (4/26) Tufts lit journal and the pioneers of Fort Warner would like to invite you to an informal reading for the launch of our spring semester edition. Complete with jugs of Carlo Rossi, this event will feature Canon all stars such as Jasper Ryden and his fixation on rabbits and elicit drugs, Paul Reilly who for once will not be reading about vaginas, and Scott Mimnaugh’s philosophical inquiries into the nature of man and son. It will also include musical guest appearances by people who have not yet been emailed, but we promise they will be awesome and will probably end up being Sam Cantor and Maeve Bell-Thornton. Join us as we celebrate the launch of our lit journal and the launch of our seniors into professional enslavement to purposes we’re not quite sure we support, also known as TFA.

Event starts at six and will be followed by discussion of alternative culture at Tufts, and an open mic if people feel so inspired. Hope to see you there!

Fall 2012 Cover (right)

Fall 2012 Issue Out Now!

Fall 2012 Cover front

The Tufts Canon Volume III has been released! Copies can be found at the OCL in the Campus Center or dispersed around the Medford campus. Alternatively, to order a copy of the journal in PDF format, you can email for the online edition. The online edition is identical to the print edition; one saves paper, the other slightly extends the life of America’s dying publishing industry.

Selections have been posted to the website:
The Dichotomy of the Bro
Over-grown Boy
Lilies Rushes Stinkweed
How to Change the World

Happy reading!


Canon contributors read at CHAT

On Friday December 14th, the Center for Humanities at Tufts will host a reading by student writers published in the Canon’s most recent issue. The event will take place at 5:00 pm in the Fung House with refreshments provided. To learn more, see our event page on facebook. Attached is a picture of CHAT director Professor Jonathan Wilson, because it appears that the CHAT house has no other stock photos on the internet.

back trails

Back Trails

By: Philip Host

On the trains and cars and
along the railroad tracks;

a constellation of inspired beds;
a snowy night of crushed-up meds
and bloodshot eyes that can’t see
how I’ll always find you.

The vacuum-sealed days; the CD skip
across state lines—the shaving knife
I left behind—

I’ll listen for your song.
You know the one: my favorite song
I’ll hear its first breath
before I hear its voice.

That familiar tug—the eye
roll, (my each step in grudging time)…

The jingling rhyme and the warm backwoods pride…

…I think I hear something outdated and hokey
Being sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”

— Now sing to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”:

My Favorite Song

And so you can find me
‘Fore the game is all through
I’ll leave powder behind me—
Numbing breadcrumbs for you.

Oh life is a fable
And dyin’s a sin
Which all who are able
Pass on to their kin


By: Jake Seiden

Three girls–aged fourteen–sit around a table in a low ceil- inged, empty apartment, slurping orange bourbon from perspiring cups. Natalie peels the curling blue paint off the tabletop so the sur- face is covered with little white swatches, like eyes rolled back in your head. Her friends are named Mim and Francine. They all are too thin and too blond and too pretty, in way that is almost premonitory.
“This is the ugliest fucking room I’ve ever seen,” Mim coughs around a burning, blended mouthful of liquor.
“Thanks,” says Natalie. “Lucas did it.”
Lucas is an interior decorator, married to Natalie’s sister. He and Marie met at a party a year and a half ago–they were drunk when they slept together the first time, in one of Marie’s empty studio apartments in downtown Detroit. The bare wooden floor left bruises the size of tangerines in the small of Marie’s back. That was the first apartment of hers that he decorated; he filled the rooms with broad dark mahogany wardrobes and with tall mirrors that leaned instead of hanged. He left the floors uncarpeted and for the weeks they spent together painting the walls and sweeping the corners, he walked bare- foot over the spot where they had lain for the first time. Now he deco- rates all of her apartments, and Marie sells more apartments than ever she had.
On the other side of the table, Francine sighs, flipping her blonde hair casually back over one shoulder with her fingers. She looks down the hallway, at the white bathroom door. A faint steam is rising from beneath it. Francine purses her lips, posing the way celeb- rities do while performing menial tasks on reality television. Francine is always doing shit like that. Playing lovely, Natalie and Mim will say, when she isn’t around. The whole dumb-show routine drives the two girls fucking mad.
“Jeezus Christ,” Francine whines, stretching one long palearm onto the table, resting her cheek against the soft inside of her el- bow. “What’s he doing in there? It’s been like 15 minutes.” Mim rolls her eyes at Natalie, as if to say: Who is she acting for? No one is even watching her.
She says, “He’s probably masturbating. Guys do it all the time.” As if to underline her point, Mim drops her hands into her lap and makes a motion like she’s shucking corn. Natalie chokes on an- other mouthful of bourbon, laughing. Red mist rises into her cheeks. Francine is staring at the bathroom door.
Mike is an eleventh grader; a friend Mim’s. They met a few weeks before at Union, the +16 discotheque where most of the Whea- ton youth waste their weekends. It’s a landmark of sorts–Natalie’s father used to hang around there when he was a student at St. Giles High School. Mike has a table there where he’ll deals pot to any ju- nior highs that can get past the bouncer. Mike’s a bit of a legend at the high school. He’s a reedy, ugly kid with a fair bit of acne growing on his hollow cheeks, but someone once walked in on Christie Reighley blowing him in the handicap stall at a club. Christie–a pageant girl since her mother decided on her third birthday that pageants were more economically sound than the lottery–tried to shrug it off. But though she bragged to everyone that how five-minutes of head got her an ounce, free of charge, Mike was the one getting the high-fives and catcalls between classes.
He’d appeared at the apartment dripping with perspiration with a jack-o-lantern’s grin on his face and a handle in each hand. It certainly was hot out there, beneath the industrial summer smog.
“Know where a guy can get a shower?” he asked, flashing a smile that was very probably related to the one that tricked Christie Reighley into ruining the knees on her new leggings. Mim relieved him of the clear bottles of 80 proof while Natalie pointed down the hallway at the bathroom.
“You’re lucky,” she said. “No one lives here, but my sister
and Lucas ‘break in’ every apartment for a week or two before they sell it. They think it’s good luck, or something. There’s probably a towel or two in there already.”
Mike whistled as he entered the apartment. It was a nice one–Marie thought it would sell soon, despite its poor location (next to the Dingell Medical Center, where there was a constant in- and out-flux of whirring ambulances). Lucas had done it all in baby col- ors: baby blue, baby green, pink. The trimmings all were in white, and the furniture all was fluffy and cute. Reaching up one wiry arm, Mike caressed the low-hanging ceiling. Catching sight of Francine, he turned to Mim with his eyebrows raised. Mim loosed a disgusted sort of snort.
“Fine. I’ll introduce you. But only after you take a shower, like a good little boy.” She smiled wickedly. “Francine’s a Jew,” she told him. “And you smell like swine.”
Mike’s greatest ambition was to marry someone tall and blonde. This was something he picked up working weekends at his uncle’s pawnshop, where he had been exposed to a clowder of Swed- ish prostitutes. Mike’s uncle bought the wallets and state-issued IDs they occasionally pinched while their clients praised God and a couple of lesser-known idols with dirty names (Ooo God yes, Ooo Fuck yes, Ooo Shit yes, O…!). Once, after the golden girls had gone, Mike’s uncle warned him: There’s just no keeping safe from the Swedes, Mikey–but he said it with a big toothy grin squirming around in his mouth.
“Have you ever seen one before?”
It is Francine who asks the question, snapping the heavy silence they were all caught in like a piece of glass beneath her heel. She’s considering the bottom of her cup–now empty of bourbon–and sweating gently. Little beads of perspiration are stuck like jewels on each of her temples.
“Seen a what?” Mim asks.
It’s nearly five o’clock, and the girls are feeling slightly drunk. Francine smiles boldly as she pulls the bottle of bourbon to- wards her. Her arm passes through a swatch of light that tumbles in through a window. The bright rectangle hangs over the table and spills onto the floor, like the melting clock in that painting by Dali. Natalie watches the tiny hairs on Francine’s arm twinkle in the fading sunlight, and laughs as she suddenly realizes what Francine means. While Mim watches, Natalie motions first to the bathroom, and then down at her crotch. They all can hear the noise of the shower splash- ing water over Mike–fat droplets falling off his chin–tracing bright wet paths through the patches of hair on his chest and around his nipples–curving down and around the jutting structure of his hips- -beating down upon the tops of his feet–whirlpooling finally down the drain.
Mim plucks out an eyebrow. She peers at it the way a fortu- neteller might consider a client’s palm. Francine sucks down her fifth, or maybe sixth shot of bourbon. Say what you will, Natalie thinks. The bitch can fucking drink. Grimacing, Francine rubs a runner of bourbon from the corner of her lip, then arches back in her chair to glance at the bathroom door. Still, a thin steam rises up from beneath the white door–wispy fingers reach towards the girls briefly before spinning out into invisibility. She turns back to the others. She’s bit- ing the inside of her pale, creamy cheek, biting it prettily.
“Cut the shit, Francine.” The command comes out harsher than Natalie meant it; her mouth has suddenly gone dry. “Pour me a shot. And one for Mim, too.”
Francine fills their cups. Something has changed. The girls drink as if bracing themselves for some difficult task–not like three eighth graders out in the city for a night alone, but like Lewis and Clarke and that Native American chick (Sacagawea) in the hour be- fore setting out down some yet uncharted, vicious rapids–they drink like those preparing to see something they’d always known existed but only ever had the opportunity to imagine.
When the three of them knock against the bathroom door, it opens at their gentle touch. It was never locked. A thick blanket of steam pours out around their ankles, ensnaring them. They step inside together, and someone of them shuts the door behind. For a moment, Natalie wonders if they haven’t stepped into another world. The air is as filled with mist as a deep cavern is with darkness so the girls are almost blinded by it–the jungly heat weighs heavily on their shoul- ders and causes their clothes to cling uncomfortably to their peach skins–the vapor is infusing with a heady musk scent that dries their tongues and crowds inside their skulls–the dew gathers atop their rounded lips like a flight along a telephone wire.
An incorporeal voice speaks aloud: “What took you so long?” The words are as forceful as the Wizard’s in Oz. Behind the fog, Mike now becomes visible. He stands naked in the shower, with- out the curtain pulled to cover him. Mim’s eyes become entangled in the dark patches of hair on his chest and beneath his belly button- -Francine watches the halo of broken vapor dance around his head- -Natalie gasps as if choking: “Oh.”
The entire bathroom is soaked with humidity. The shower noisily dumps buckets of steaming hot water down the drain in waste. The white tiles on the floor are slick and slimy and unstable. Beside the foot of the sink rests a fluffy blue bathmat, as seemingly tired as a loyal mutt that’s run itself almost to death in the summer heat.
And in the tub, standing naked, is Mike. He wears his smile like a robe. He speaks: ”I thought something like this was in the cards.” He’s looking at Mim and at Natalie too, but mostly he keeps his eyes trained on pretty, posing Francine. “I brought a few Plan Bs.” He steps from the tub and approaches the girls. They watch him with- out retreating, and their faces are blotchy with the heat, with curiosity and embarrassment. They consider his cock as if it were addressing them–as if it were capable of speech and planning–as if it had been the one to fill Mike’s jeans with drugstore pills.
Mike reaches out one dripping wet hand to touch Francine’s shoulder. Where he touches her, his finger’s damp makes the thin white cloth of her shirt diaphanous. His cock is bobbing in the silence like a wand used in dowsing. He turns so that it points at each of them in turn.
Now the noise of the shower grows louder, and a thicker mist fills the room. Slowly, over the noise of the shower, another, stranger sounf rises–one which does not belong here in the wet heat of downtown Detroit. It is faint, but all the girls can hear it, and so can the boy. It is the music of a rainforest: mosquitoic melodies and the rhythmic pattering of raindrops on widespread leaves. Mim becomes frightened by the sound. She turns around, looking for the door, but cannot find it in the mists. A hand falls upon her shoulder, stalling her search–she opens her mouth to scream but the fog rushes in to hide her voice. She turns again and finds Francine’s face: Francine’s blond hair stick limply to her cheeks; her eyes are wide and green and wild; she smiles, and Mim can see her canines are larger now than they were before–and sharp. Francine pulls Mim forward so that their lips can meet. Her pink tongue slides into Mim’s mouth and tickles the ridges behind her front teeth. The kiss tastes as sweet and tangy as fresh fruit. It is her first kiss, and it is gentle, but the hand on her ass squeezes urgently, rubbing out the fear and reluctance and wonder from Mim’s ignorant body. There is a fire burning there, an ambitious one, which means to burn long and bright.
Mim throws her arm around Francine’s neck and pulls her closer, biting at her lower lip. When finally the two pull away, Mim’s eyes are as wild and green as Francine’s. Natalie and Mike walk to- wards them through the mist, and without speaking, the three girls encircle Mike. They smile with some satire, as if they’d only under- stood the rules to a very simple, childish game, and there is some- thing fae in those smiles.
Mim says, “I can see your cock, Mike.”
“I can see your penis,” Natalie giggles.
Francine flicks the tip of his cock with one sharp fingernail:
“I can see your pussystick.”
When he laughs, the girls smile too. They approach him
slowly, like lionesses closing in on a favorite prey. They take his body and lay it gently on the ground. Francine kisses his mouth. Mim and Natalie trace their unpainted fingernails across his goose-pimpled flesh. The mists grow so thick that when one of them rises to straddle Mike, we cannot see her face.
Soon the fog closes over them completely, stealing away the sight of their bodies. But though their figures have gone, their noises remain, reverberating through the opaque mists and echoing against the walls. Moans and grunts, barks and hisses–these are not the cries of young people, not even young people playing at passion. No, these are more like the noises of thick beasts and jungle snakes–of faer- ies and hunters–of fantastic creatures lost for a moment in another world.and maybe it was a false alarm and if you go back now he’ll still be talking like you never left but you wait just in case.

The Exposed Rip

By:Robert Persky

Farzan kicked the refrigerator. It was the third time it had turned off this week.
“Farzan, face it. We need a new fridge.”
“No, Sasha. We don’t have the money. You know that.”
Sasha shook her head and squeezed behind her husband to get out of
the kitchen.
He shouted in her direction, “And don’t ask the girls, Sasha. They
have done so much for us already.”
His wife turned around to argue, when the phone rang. She went back
towards the living room. “Hello. Ah, Laleh, jouni, salam! We were just think- ing about you.” She looked at Farzan struggling behind the refrigerator, and continued the conversation with her daughter, “Well, today I got lost on the bus, again. The map is confusing, and the English words, they’re so… Yes he is, ok. Here, Farzan, take the phone.”
Sasha reentered the kitchen to pass the phone. Farzan was reaching behind the refrigerator, feeling for something out of place. He pulled his body out from behind, but his sleeve got caught on a piece metal. It was his old busi- ness button-down. He sighed.
He picked up the phone. “Salam.”
“Hi, baba. How are you doing?”
“I am good. How are you doing?”
“Busy. The bank actually decided to hire again, so I have to do more
interviews. Baba, mom told me you fell in the shower yesterday.”
“I slipped. It was nothing.” Farzan glared at Sasha.
“Yeah, but you have to be more careful. I am gonna try seeing you this
week. Do you need anything?”
“Only your beautiful face. You are always trying to do something for
us.” “Baba, as I always say, it’s not a big deal.” “Yes, goodbye. I love you darling.”
Farzan walked to the next room, where Sasha had began reading her
book. He put the phone in its holder and picked up the frame next to it. It was a picture of his family, posing in front of their old home.
“Saba, next time, don’t tell Laleh I fell in the shower.”
She kept reading her book. “Farzan, we are not young anymore.” Farzan reached for the bowl of pistachios. He took one and struggled
to pull open its shell. He asked, “Do you remember when we had this picture taken? Azal had just graduated. Laleh was living in the US. She came to visit us. I had just gotten the tire firm.”
“Yes, that was the day we had the picnic in the yard. I miss that
Sasha put her book down.
Farzan said, “It is funny. We thought she would come to Iran to visit us. And now we are here.”
“Don’t dwell on it.”
tachios. Farzan was quiet. The silence was punctuated by the cracking of pis-
The doorbell buzzed, and Sasha was surprised. She answered it. “Hi, Sonya.” She turned to Farzan, “I didn’t know you scheduled your checkup for 3:00. Azal and Jacob are coming over.”
Farzan sat down in the reclining chair getting ready for his nurse. “Do not worry, Sasha. I can be with them while I get checked out.”
Sonya first took his blood pressure. It was too high.
Five minutes later, Farzan could hear Asal, his daughter, and Jacob his grandson entering. Jacob ran into the room and jumped onto his grandfather’s lap for a hug. Sonya tried pulling him off.
“Jacob, my boy, hello.” Farzan pushed her away, “Sonya, it’s fine. Let him stay.
But, sir.
“It is fine.”
Sonya put a stethoscope to Farzan’s chest while he questioned Jacob.
“Jacob, how is school?”
“It’s ok.” Jacob gasped, “Baba, are you sick?”
Sonya took Farzan’s wrist and silently took his pulse.
“No! They are checking to see why I am so strong! One day
you will be strong, too!”
Asal came into the room. Farzan welcomed her, “Hi, beauti-
ful.” She kissed her father.
Jacob interrupted, “Baba, how strong were you in Iran? Were you as strong as the Shah?”
Asal spoke up, “He’s been fascinated ever since you told him about the Shah and his palace.”
Farzan put on a smile. “Yes, Jacob. We were both very strong. We used to live very close to each other. Every day I would pass his palace on the way to work, and each day he would challenge me to arm wrestle.”
Sasha came into the room with a platter of tea.
Jacob continued with fascination. “Who would win?”
“I would win.”
Sasha interjected, “You, Farzan, would beat the Shah. Ha.” Farzan continued, “And one day I beat him so bad that he told
me to get out of Iran.”
Jacob piped in, “And you listened?”
Sasha added with bitterness, “The Shah had to leave as well.” Jacob asked, “Why didn’t you fight the Shah?”
Farzan responded, “That day I did not feel like fighting much.”
Sasha interrupted, “There was a revolution.”
Farzan didn’t respond to her. He again looked at the picture
of his family, in front of their old house. He didn’t tell Jacob that they left the car in the driveway, and he didn’t mention that they told the driver and the maid that they were going on vacation. They left with two suitcases, full of only a few possessions. They took out a maximum withdrawal from the bank, but it was a meager portion of their fortune.
He left behind his house, his money, and his friends. He missed his job the most.
Sonya asked Jacob to move so that she could draw some blood. Jacob got up and sat on his mom’s lap. Farzan began to roll up his shirt- sleeve. The sleeve wouldn’t stay up.
Sonya told him to take off his shirt. Farzan complained, saying he forgot to wear an undershirt.
Sasha insisted, “Farzan, we are all family. Don’t worry.” Farzan pushed each button through its slit, and pulled his arms through the arm slats. He handed his shirt to Azal. Sonya injected him with the needle.
Asal noticed the rip in his shirt as she placed it on the back of the couch. “Baba, your sleeve is ripped. We need to go and get that fixed.”
“Asal, it is fine. Don’t bother with it.”
“Baba, please, I am getting it fixed. And the refrigerator needs to get fixed.”
Farzan paused. “Don’t worry about that.” “Why not?”
“Because I can get it fixed.”
His voice rose, “I will get it fixed.”
“Asal, do not talk to me like this. With my money.” Sasha piped in, “What money?”
“My money.”
Everyone stopped talking and looked at Farzan.
In his nakedness he said, “You have done enough, Asal.”



By: Laura Traitz

Sun drips from the sky two
hours into my future.
You spill onto the surface
two hours after that (see–
the counter is still dirty
even if you wipe it up).
Here there are un-watered plants,
a sniffling stranger, a shelf
of fantasy I turn my back on.
What words will wander
willingly into paper
ears, cut and bound,
neatly stacked?
You never ask me for them so
I give them voluntarily, wrapped
up in the foil that came free
with my dark chocolate.
I enjoy the usual patterns
when you help to weave them,
without ever seeing yourself
as a weaver. I wander
away, find words,
bring them home.

Chase, in Spain

By: Marcus Hunter

I’d never seen clouds move so fast,
Not rolling, but shuttled as if on a conveyor
Belt worn by twelve angels
Straddling a storm. It

Came, as all storms do,
Before anyone was really ready. We were all still
Clothed and not even planning to go that far, so
The storm, embarrassed more than anything,
Quietly cleaned up and slipped out the blue sun door.

Dad, who knew more about weather’s patterns
Of behavior than any of us, said that it probably
Wouldn’t show its face ‘round here again and
Good thing too, or he’d have words with those
Angels, even go above their heads

If necessary. But he was in no hurry.
We smiled and returned to the window,
Watching those clouds slowly merge without blinkers onto I-94.

when the band started playing

When the Band Started Playing

By: Maxwell Means

Bug eyed nomads, twisted round their glasses,
cast disembodied gazes at anemic phantoms
and tight assess. A snare drum jumps-everyone
forgets that ears are leaky holes in heads open
to the stomping feet, the spastic ticks of
jean short dancers in clumsy orbits, casting
dizzy, black framed frizzy haired lipstick
stares, skyward through the ceiling at the celestial,
one-night narratives off bar napkins, howling
vocal cords through chipped yellow ceilings, spinning
the evening fabric, lonely planetoids adrift, alone.

Love is a Zubat Who Only Knows Supersonic & Leech Life

By: Jasper Ryden

Let me tell you about being in rooms
with people

who are doing things. Wearing things
to cover up their bodies,
like shirts, and dresses, and

fucking each other. Plans!

I have plans.

I’ll walk somewhere and buy something
caffeinated for two dollars and eighteen cents
and I’ll drink it and that will be something.
I’ll get a free couch on craigslist
and it will spice the shit out of this room.
My friends will put their butts on it,

and play Gamecube,

and fuck each other.
They will have a great time, and I’ll lie facedown
on the rug, getting more and more familiar with it.

Tomorrow though, things will be different. I’ll go to the town square with a colorful knit tube and I’ll sew it on a cat. I’ll paint her teeth glow-in-the-dark, and set her free in the city. She will be the snazziest cat. The other cats will hate her. The next day I’ll dress up all in white and give heart- felt, encouraging smiles to everyone I see. For every nasty look I get, I’ll replace an Oreo filling with Crest, or perhaps semen. I’m going to drive a stolen Honda Fit to Arizona and start a mystic desert coven, where we’ll perform mystic desert rituals, and play mystic desert Gamecube, and mystic desert fuck each other on the mystic desert couch.

But tonight, I’ll feel very peaceful and probably drink a lot of tequila. My belly will warm, and it will slowly cook the pizza of your heart. Your jalapeños will taste delicious. I’ll manipulate them with my tongue. And when we wake… we’ll be constipated.